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UGA study says ports support more than 350K jobs
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Gov. Nathan Deal announced Thursday the release of the study "The Economic Impact of Georgia’s Deepwater Ports" by the Selig Center for Economic Growth at UGA’s Terry College of Business.

According to the fiscal year 2011 study, Georgia’s deepwater ports support 352,146 full- and part-time jobs across the state, up from 295,422 found in a 2009 study. Georgia ports now account for 8.3 percent of total state employment, or one out of 12 jobs.

"The research shows strong employment opportunities — linked directly or indirectly to the ports — exist in each of Georgia’s 159 counties," Deal said. "The findings are a testament to the ports’ sustaining power to create jobs. Our transportation and logistics industry drives statewide and regional commerce while our deepwater ports generate revenue, create jobs and offer opportunities for growth in every corner of the state through our global transportation network. This puts Georgia even closer to being the No. 1 state to do business."

Selig Center Director Jeff Humphreys conducted the study, which found statewide FY11 impacts also include:

$66.9 billion in sales (9.5 percent of Georgia’s total sales)

• $32.4 billion in state GDP  (7.8 percent of Georgia’s total GDP)

• $18.5 billion in income (5.2 percent of Georgia’s total personal income)

• $4.5 billion in federal taxes

• $1.4 billion in state taxes

• $1.1 billion in local taxes.

"These economic impacts demonstrate that continued emphasis on imports and exports through Georgia’s deepwater ports translates into jobs, higher incomes, greater production of goods and services and revenue collections for government," Humphreys said. "Port operations help preserve Georgia’s manufacturing base, support Georgia’s agricultural economy and foster growth of the state’s massive logistics, distribution and warehousing cluster."

The Terry College of Business study showed that the total impact of Georgia’s deepwater ports on the state’s economy was $66.9 billion, or 9.5 percent of Georgia’s output in FY11.

Measured in terms of income, Georgia’s deepwater ports contributed $18.5 billion in personal income to the state in FY2011, which is 5.2 percent of Georgia’s total.

"The results of the Terry College study are very encouraging," said Curtis Foltz, Georgia Ports Authority executive director. "It is clear from the study that the ports fuel a dynamic economic engine, especially considering the research was done at a time when the national economy marked slow to no growth."

For the first time, Dr. Humphreys and the Terry College of Business examined the impact of Georgia’s deepwater ports on every county in the state, which revealed new results. In the 10-county Atlanta region, for example, more than 150,000 jobs are port-related. The second largest employment impact is in the Coastal Georgia region, representing six coastal and four inland counties and including the ports of Savannah and Brunswick.

In addition to the Terry College study, the GPA tracks the industry categories for import and export trade by county and economic development region.


Coastal Georgia

In the Coastal Georgia region, 55,384 jobs are tied to the ports. Of those, 37,319 are in Chatham County, 4,134 in Liberty County and 3,529 in Glynn County. The region accounted for $1.45 billion in export trade and $1.57 billion in imports, for a total of $3.02 billion in port business.

"Georgia’s ports serve as hubs of diverse economic activity linking waterborne commercial vessels with economic opportunities throughout the state," said Allen Burns, Coastal Regional Commission executive director. "Our ports generate thousands of family-sustaining jobs which helps enhance the quality of life of all Georgians. Often taken for granted, our ports are deeply rooted in Georgia’s history and will continue to play a major role in the state’s economic future."

Chatham County industries did $1.74 billion in port business. Of that, $375.9 million was in export trade. Top three exports were automobiles ($104.2 million), mixed metal scrap ($54 million), and saccharin and vanillin ($29 million). The remainder of the port-related trade, or $1.37 billion, was in imports. Top three imports were furniture ($225.7 million), chemicals ($84 million), and olive, palm and peanut oil ($67.2 million). The top three port customers by volume in Chatham County include Ikea, Pier 1 Imports and Expeditors International.

Glynn County industries did $44.46 million in port business. Of that, $5.24 million were in exports. Top exports were gums ($1.21 million), wood pulp ($702,172) and synthetic resins ($663,965). The remainder of the port-related trade, or $39.21 million, was in imports. Top imports were automobiles ($28.2 million), buses and campers ($2 million) and auto parts ($1.7 million). Top three port customers by volume in Glynn County include Pinova Inc., Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics and Char Griller.